[Photo: Activists shout anti-Israeli slogans on the third anniversary of the Mavi Marmara raid in front of the Israeli embassy in Ankara, May 31]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
Turkish members of the Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (MAZLUM-DER) marked the third anniversary of a deadly raid by Israel on the Mavi Marmara flotilla, bound for the Gaza Strip, with a sit-in protest in front of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara on May 31.
The activists, who hung Palestinian flags around the Embassy, remained in front of the Embassy until the following day.
Mavi Marmara, a ship in Gaza-bound aid flotilla, was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip when on May 31, 2010, Israeli soldiers boarded the ships from speedboats in international waters and helicopters to attack, and killed nine Turks aboard.
A ceremony to commemorate the victims was also held in Gaza port.
Owing to the formal agreement the two countries are planning to sign, the Mavi Marmara court cases may have to be dropped.
Mavi Marmara activists are against a formal agreement between Turkey and Israel that will cancel the court cases against Israel.
The text of the apology offered by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the two sides had agreed “to conclude an agreement on compensation [and] non-liability” of the Israeli soldiers.
After the two countries signed the formal agreement, the Turkish Government will then present the deal to Parliament for its endorsement as an international agreement.
International agreements, according to the Turkish Constitution, are superior to national law, which means that the Mavi Marmara court cases would have to be dropped.
The protestors also said if Turkey reaches an agreement with Israel, that will exempt Israel from being tried for the killings, this will damage the “honour of humanity”.
They also said Turkey will be the one who loses if the court cases are dropped. The group also said a rapprochement between Turkey and Israel is of no use to people who take the side of peace.